Remington Announces the Model 700 Ultimate Muzzleloader
At this year's NRA Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana, Remington unveiled their Ultimate Muzzleloader, a Made in the USA, bolt-action, sealed action inline. Initially, it is offered in two configurations, a stainless steel gray laminate and a stainless steel Bell & Carlson stocked offering. Either way, the rifle has a 1:26 rate of twist and is equipped with the latest X-Mark Pro trigger for a list price of $1295.
Model 700 Ultimate Muzzleloader Synthetic (86960)
Model 700 Ultimate Muzzleloader Laminate (86950)
The Ultimate Muzzleloader has actually been around for some time, offered as the BP Express, a rifle that most feel is one of the most over priced muzzleloaders ever to hit the market. It is hard not to agree, with the base model (BP Express) starting at $2500, the Black Widow model at $3450 and the Carbon Stealth at a nosebleed $4450 and up.
Remington has acquired the patent to the breech plug and they feel they have improved the breeching system substantially. With an estimated discount retail price of $1050 or so, it is now an affordable option for those looking for a high-quality muzzleloader. Remington officials at Indianapolis cited the weight of the Remington Ultimate synthetic at about 9.1 pounds, the laminated stock version about a quarter pound lighter, which is heavier than the published specifications. To my eyes, they are fine looking rifles.
In terms of muzzle velocity, the Remington Ultimate can use up to four 50 grain Triple Se7en pellets. The velocity increase isn't all that tremendous from other muzzleloaders, but it is there. Two T7 Magnum pellets throw 250 grain saboted bullets at about 2000 fps. 120 grains by volume of Blackhorn 209 produces around 2150 fps with a 250 grain projectile and around 2050 fps with a 300 grain saboted bullet.
The Remington Ultimate Muzzleloader is claimed to hit 2400 fps with a 250 grain sabot and 2200 fps with a 300 grain sabot. It is not quite at the level of the now-discontinued Savage 10ML series that has been able to exceed 2300 fps with 300 grain bullets for the last decade, albeit with propellants not specially marketed as blackpowder replacements. I didn't ask the folks at Remington about their position on smokeless propellants, for it will undoubtedly be "No Way." I can't say that I blame them.
Representative 300 grain Saboted Bullet Velocities:
80 grains Volume BH209 1650 fps (56 grains weight)
100 grains Volume BH209 1850 fps (70 grains weight)
120 grains Volume BH209 2050 fps (84 grains weight)
150 grains pellets (IMR White Hot, Pyrodex, or T7) 1988 fps
200 grains T7 pellets (Remington Ultimate Only) 2200 fps
As for the rate of twist, Remington told me that they tried 1:28 and 1:26. They liked the 1:26 better, but didn't get around to trying 1:24 or tighter twist rates due to time considerations. Initial testing was largely with Parker Productions Ballistic Extreme bullets that performed very accurately, but the production rifles will come with Remington Premier Accu-Tip bullets (actually Barnes flat base T-EZ 250 grain bullets) in a new, green, proprietary sabot made by MMP.
I have had exceptionally good results with Barnes bullets, as most of my readers know, particularly the 290 grain flat base T-EZ and the Barnes Original .458 300 grain. The Parker Ballistic Extremes have also been excellent. I'm interested to see if the 1:26 barrel at 2200 fps is enough to do the trick with the Parker Match / Hunters, but that will have to wait until I get my hands on a production rifle; perhaps some time in June. Although Remington didn't have the time to do any Blackhorn 209 testing, the brass / magnum rifle primer set-up shouldn't pose any ignition problems.
One of the more interesting advantages mentioned by Remington is that their improved .30 caliber brass / breechplug set-up stays clean, accumulating no primer crud. This is sure to delight those who are weary of drilling out the carbon from their breechplugs, a necessity in many cases for reliability. Remington says that the breechplug does not need to be removed at all for normal cleaning. That has great appeal, as well.
Marketing being what it is, claims are being made that the Ultimate Muzzleloader shoots like a centerfire. This obviously makes no sense. If, for example, you want .270 Winchester ballistics, you need a 130 grain .277 inch projectile coming out of the muzzle at around 3060 fps. This is not going to happen here.
If it sounds like I really like this muzzleloader, it is because I do. It has very nice lines and the triggers I tried were superb. Although four pellets are not my choice, or pellets at all for that matter, it shouldn't be much of a problem to work up loads to the recoil limit that most folks find enjoyable. Much more information will follow, as it becomes available.
Copyright 2014 by Randy Wakeman. All rights reserved.